John David Lamb-Sonata for Soprano Saxophone and Piano

John David Lamb was born in Portland, Oregon in 1935 and raised in Yakima, Washington. He received a B.A. from San Francisco State in 1956 and a M.A. in composition and conducting in 1958 from the University of Washington. In addition to a Ford Foundation/MENC composer-in-residence grant, Lamb has several times travelled to Sweden for intensive studies in ethnic Swedish music. The Kronos string quartet recently requested and recorded a work by Lamb for Swedish bagpipe and string quartet. The Sonata for Soprano Saxophone and Follies for baritone and piano, both published by To the Fore Publishers, have been recorded on the Saxophone Project, a CD of saxophone works by Lamb. His other works for saxophone include a Nocturne for alto saxophone and band, Fugue for saxophone ensemble and male voices, Barefoot Dances for two alto saxophones, Three Antique Dances for solo alto, Madrigal for SAT, Cenotaph, a symphony for large saxophone ensemble and percussion, Affirmations for SATB and Fables for alto saxophone and piano.

Saxophone Music has run through my compositional output like a red thread ever since I first heard Sigurd Rascher in 1960. His flawless technique and magnificent musicianship opened up my mind to the possibilities of the instrument. Over the years, with his constant coaxing and support, I produced an even dozen of works for saxophone ranging from a small suite for unaccompanied alto to a full-blown symphony for large saxophone ensemble and percussion. The Sonata for Soprano Saxophone and Piano first appeared in 1961 as a modest sonatina written for Carina Rascher. Twenty-five years passed before I heard it performed, and by then it was obvious to me that the material had potential which I had not fully realized. Major revisions took place in the late '80s; the first and last movements were expanded, and the slow movement was replaced with a new and more developed composition. Gradually through the encouragement of Paul Cohen, the sonatina matured into a new, full-grown sonata retaining little more than the basic thematic material from the earlier version, though the original light-hearted and occasionally sassy mood still prevails.

John David Lamb

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